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Citing Local Effects, 53 Young Elected Officials Call on Congress to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Today 53 state and local elected officials from 23 states and the District of Columbia, along with Young Elected Officials Action, a program of People For the American Way representing the interests of elected officials age 35 and under, urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, they write, “As state and local elected officials, we see firsthand the impact that a failing federal immigration system has on American communities.” The letter calls for immigration reform legislation that provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and keeps all families – including LGBTQ families – together. 

The elected officials note that federal immigration policies have significant implications for local communities, with state and local officials too often “picking up the pieces” of a broken system.  “City council members and mayors must ensure that all people in our communities – documented and undocumented – have the protection of and are treated fairly by law enforcement. State legislators, in the absence of federal guidance, must work to ensure that all residents of their states have access to education, law enforcement protection, and health and human services,” the letter states. 

The full text of the letter is below.


Dear Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Leader Pelosi:

We, state and local elected officials from 23 states and the District of Columbia and Young Elected Officials Action – a program of People For the American Way representing the interests of progressive elected officials ages 35 and under – write to urge you to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Any comprehensive immigration reform legislation must provide broad legalization with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, help our economy grow by expanding opportunities for legal immigration, keep families – including those led by LGBTQ people – together, afford the responsibilities and rights required for full integration into American society, protect rights and working conditions for all workers, and ensure that the federal government can adequately enforce immigration laws that protect American and immigrant workers and advance due process and fair treatment, without shifting the burden to states, towns, and businesses.

As state and local elected officials, we see firsthand the impact that a failing federal immigration system has on American communities. School board members face the challenge of ensuring that the children of undocumented parents have access to education and opportunity. City council members and mayors must ensure that all people in our communities – documented and undocumented – have the protection of and are treated fairly by law enforcement. State legislators, in the absence of federal guidance, must work to ensure that all residents of their states have access to education, law enforcement protection, and health and human services.

Too often, state and local elected officials are left picking up the pieces of a federal immigration system that does not recognize the reality that undocumented immigrants have already become members of our communities. They contribute to local economies and strengthen our social fabric. Yet our outdated immigration system is deterring many potential new immigrants we critically need to help grow our economy and keeping the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently within our borders from contributing fully to our nation. These Americans, two-thirds of whom have lived in the United States for at least a decade, often face barriers in meeting basic needs such as health insurance, or drivers’ licenses, or feeling secure in reporting crimes to law enforcement. Providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would be a boon to our local economies as immigrants previously kept in the shadows are able to more fully participate in our entrepreneurial system and invest in their children’s future.

A broken immigration system undermines the efforts of state and local elected officials to serve our constituents through effective law enforcement, public safety, economic development, public health, and education. Congress must pass a comprehensive immigration reform package that acknowledges the contributions that immigrants are making across the country, helps local economies to grow and thrive, and allows undocumented immigrants and their children to come out of the shadows.

Sincerely,

YEO Action
People For the American Way

Felipe Agredano, Human Rights Commissioner, Los Angeles, CA
Jesse Arreguin, City Council Member, Berkeley, CA
Mandela Barnes, State Representative, Milwaukee, WI
Josue Barrios, City Council Member, Cudahy, CA
Maria Antonia Berrios, State Representative, Chicago, IL
Joe Carn, City Council Member, College Park, GA
Adam Carranza, Mountain View Board of Education Member, El Monte, CA
Melvin Carter, City Council Member, Saint Paul, MN
Stanley Chang, City Council Member, Honolulu, HI
Leland Cheung, City Council Member, Cambridge, MA
Caitlin Copple, City Council Member, Missoula, MT
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, Azusa Unified School District Board Clerk, Azusa, CA
Henry Davis, Jr., City Council Member, South Bend, IN
Tadeo De La Hoya, Governing Board Member, San Luis, AZ
James Eldridge, State Senator, Acton, MA
Megan England, City Council Member, Roeland Park, KS
Wesley Farrow, Neighborhood Advisory Councilman, Los Angeles, CA
Carmelo Garcia, School Board Member, Hoboken, NJ
Mike Gaughan, County Commissioner, Lawrence, KS
Robert J. Gignac, School Committeeman, Lowell, MA
Andrew Gillum, City Commissioner, Tallahassee, FL
Mike Gipson, City Council Member, Carson, CA
Dayvin Hallmon, County Supervisor, Kenosha, WI
Eddie Holguin, State Representative, El Paso, TX
Tishaura Jones, Treasurer, St. Louis, MO
Jill Krowinski, State Representative, Burlington, VT
Roland Lemar, State Representative, New Haven, CT
Antonio Lopez, School Board Trustee, Helm, CA
Toni Moceri, County Commissioner, Warren, MI
Matthew Moonen, State Representative, Portland, ME
Quentin Phipps, City Treasurer, Middletown, CT
Kesha Ram, State Representative, Burlington, VT
Kathryn Ramirez, School Board Member, Salinas, CA
Ricardo Rangel, State Representative, Kissimmee, FL
Michael Richards, County Board Member, Champaign, IL
Armando Rodriguez, School Board President, El Paso, TX
Peggy Romo West, County Supervisor, Milwaukee, WI
Brian Rowland, City Councilman, City of Prairie View, TX
Jesus Rubalcava, School Governing Board Member, Gila Bend, AZ
Natalia Rudiak, City Council Member, Pittsburgh, PA
Andrew Smith, City Councilman, Middletown, OH
Brent Steeno, Alderman, Grandview, MO
James Taylor, City Councilman, Winston-Salem, NC
Rashida Tlaib, State Representative, Detroit, MI
Elizabeth Toledo, Riverside County Board of Education Member, Thermal, CA
Anna Tovar, State Senator, Phoenix, AZ
Tiffany Troidl, Governing Board Member, Phoenix, AZ
Hugo Antonio Tzec, School Board Member, Baldwin Park, CA
Ponka-We Victors, State Representative, Wichita, KS
Lea Webb, City Council Member, Binghampton, NY
Joe Wisniewski, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, Washington, DC
Cynthia Wolken, City Council Member, Missoula, MT
Thomas Wong, Environmental Council Director, Monterey Park, CA

 

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Corsi: ACLU Promoting Pedophilia, Leading Us Back to Paganism

Master birther Jerome Corsi visited the Janet Mefferd show last week to promote his new book Bad Samaritans, a “scorching expose” of the American Civil Liberties Union. Like with most of his work, Corsi’s analysis of the ACLU is light on the truth and heavy on the grand conspiracy theories. He tells Mefferd that the ACLU is now promoting pedophilia “as the next sexual horizon” and seeking to indict pastors with non-existent hate speech laws. All of this, Corsi argues, means that “we’re headed right back to the paganism, maybe a broader form of paganism, that was the ancient world.”

Corsi: The ACLU has championed same-sex marriage, and along with same-sex marriage advocates, got a very effective public relations campaign arguing, you know, ‘How would you deny these two men who are in love or two women the ability to be happy,’ emotional issues. But now the ACLU is doing two things. One, they’re pushing the envelope, they’re arguing that pedophilia should be accepted next, as the next sexual horizon that is just a sexual orientation, and we should accept it as natural.

Mefferd: That’s sick.

Corsi: And they’re also arguing that any of the, the clergy, silencing the Church and ministers so that anybody who speaks out on a moral issue, objecting to, say, same-sex marriage on a moral or scriptural basis from Judeo-Christian principles, that’s hate speech and the person’s committing a crime. I mean, the left is not going to be tolerant when the window is fully pushed open and anyone who objects to their agenda is going to be suspect and silenced. And the problem is that if we continue to expand, you know, if every form of human behavior, sexual behavior, that can be imagined is all accepted and legitimated, well then we’re headed  right back to the paganism, maybe a broader form of paganism, that was the ancient world, rejected by Christianity at the fall of the Roman Empire.

Mefferd: Oh, it’s exactly the case.
 

PFAW: GOP Has ‘Painted Itself Into a Corner’ Over Marriage

WASHINGTON – Today the Republican National Committee passed by voice vote a resolution reaffirming the party’s opposition to marriage equality. Passage of the resolution followed a letter earlier this week from the leaders of thirteen right-wing organizations to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus calling for a reaffirmation of the 2012 GOP platform and warning party leadership of potential “abandonment of our constituents to their support.”

People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“The GOP has painted itself into a corner.  For many years, the Republican party fostered anti-gay sentiment for political benefit.  Now that the political landscape is shifting, they are unable to escape the extreme ideology of the far Right even as the majority of American voters embrace equal rights for same-sex couples. There are strong forces within the GOP dedicated to preventing the party from embracing marriage equality, and they are making it clear that they will not give in without a fight.” 

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Starnes Accuses Obama Administration of 'Religious Cleansing of the Military'

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has taken it in upon himself to chronicle what he sees as an “attack on Christianity” within the military under the Obama administration. So far, the main evidence he’s turned up is an email sent by an Army officer about anti-gay groups and an unauthorized slide in a training presentation listing Christianity as a possible source of religious extremism. These, however, are enough for Starnes to conclude that, as he put it to the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins yesterday, “politically correct Obama administration officials” are conducting a “sort of religious cleansing of the military”

Starnes told Perkins that his concerns are shared by Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who believes “there is an anti-Christian movement afoot at the Pentagon.”


Starnes: It should be shocking and surprising, but unfortunately, for me it’s not, because I’ve been covering this attack on Christianity that’s within the ranks of the military, not just the Army, since President Obama was inaugurated. And we have seen an onslaught of attacks, the sort of religious cleansing of the military at the hands of these politically correct Obama administration officials operating out of the Pentagon.

...

Perkins: This is a fundamental, this is our first freedom. We cannot lose it, we must defend it with our abilities through the political process. That’s how we do that. Todd, what’s the next step on this? What do you think is going to happen next?

Starnes: I think we are going to see some movement on Capitol Hill. We’ve got some lawmakers that are very upset. Congressman Steve King out of Iowa, I had a chance to talk to him, and he believes there is an anti-Christian movement afoot at the Pentagon. And I think we are going to see more people standing in the gap for our fighting men and women. These are folks putting their lives on the line so that we might have religious liberty, and their religious liberty is being denied? It’s just unconscionable.
 

Kuhner: Latinos and 'Christophobic' Obama Turning US into a 'Third World Nation' and the 'United States of Mexico'

Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times is out with a column today slamming Republicans who are willing to work with the Obama administration on crafting an immigration reform bill.

According to Kuhner, the GOP would be “committing suicide” if it backed a plan which offered undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, arguing that Latinos support “statism” and Obama, despite his supposedly “anti-Catholic, Christophobic and pro-abortion” record.

Citizenship given to undocumented immigrations would make the U.S. into a “third world nation” as it “rewards mass lawbreaking” and encourages the “huge southern invasion” and “cultural Balkanization.” “They are criminals,” Kuhner writes.

“Amnesty is nothing more than surrender.” He goes on to warn Republicans that “any amnesty will fracture the GOP” and push conservatives “to for a new party” of people who “will not abandon our nation” as it becomes “a socialist empire.”

“We will not embrace a United States of Mexico,” he concludes.

Republicans may be committing a fatal error. During its proud history, the GOP has embraced heroic causes decrying slavery, preserving our union, defending modern capitalism, opposing Soviet communism and protecting unborn children. It is a seminal institution that has been pivotal in forging a free and prosperous America. If wiser heads do not prevail, however, the party is on the verge of committing suicide.



The open-borders crowd is peddling the myth that Hispanics are “natural allies” of the GOP. They are supposedly deeply Catholic and, therefore, more “family-oriented” and potentially open to embracing Republican positions on abortion, homosexual marriage and stem-cell research. They are supposedly social conservatives masquerading as moderate Democrats the future shock troops of the Christian right.

This is false. The 2012 exit polls clearly revealed Hispanics voted Democrat owing to Obamacare. This was (and remains) their No. 1 issue. An overwhelming majority of Hispanics embrace government-run health care because they support a lavish entitlement state subsidized housing, free education, Pell Grants, long-term unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, Social Security and disability insurance. In other words, most Hispanics are natural Democrats. They prefer statism and higher taxes to small-government conservatism. They are not “values” voters. They vote their pocketbook. The Catholic Church openly criticized Obamacare, especially its contraceptive mandate and the administration’s war on religious liberty. No president has been more anti-Catholic, Christophobic and pro-abortion than Mr. Obama. If socially conservative Hispanics couldn’t oppose a radical leftist like him, they will never flock to the GOP.

Amnesty is a poisoned chalice; Republicans drink it at their peril. By allowing a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, the GOP is paving the way for permanent Democratic rule. The Democrats’ voting rolls will swell with newly legalized foreigners. States with heavy Hispanic populations will become Democratic strongholds. Texas and Arizona will no longer be red states. Florida will flip from purple to blue. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will be unwinnable. The Republicans will be reduced to a regional rump party, clinging to the South and the Prairie states. They will go the way of the Whigs into the dustbin of history.

America is not a Third World nation. It is based on the rule of law. Amnesty rewards mass lawbreaking and undermines national sovereignty. It essentially encodes the pernicious principle that our borders do not exist and that we are unwilling to protect our homeland from a huge southern invasion. The costs have been enormous crowded emergency rooms, exploding crime, gun- and drug-trafficking, the immense drain on social services and cultural Balkanization. Illegal aliens are not refugees. They are criminals. Amnesty is nothing more than surrender.

This is why any amnesty will fracture the GOP, and force millions of conservatives including myself to form a new party. We will not abandon our nation. We will not accept it becoming a socialist empire. We will not embrace a United States of Mexico. Republicans beware: Your political future is at stake.

WND: Obama's 'Unconscious Message' to America: 'Government Is Coming for Our Guns'

WorldNetDaily always has a rather interesting way of interpreting President Obama’s speeches. For instance, WND’s “forensic profiler” Andrew Hodges recently revealed that an offhand joke the president made contained secret clues about his plan to impose martial law.

Hodges is back in WND today, telling reporter Bob Unruh that the president’s statement that the government is not planning to seize firearms is actually a “wink-wink” confirmation of a mass confiscation plan.

According to Hodges, if Obama denies that he is going to do something like confiscate guns, that means he is going to do the opposite: “Read his condescending denial as a warning of the possibility one day the government’s coming for our guns.”

“We always contemplate denial as a revelation of the real truth,” Hodges said. “Ask yourself, if he carried out an illegal presidency and participated in election fraud what would he be capable of when it came to gun control?”

Andrew G. Hodges, M.D., who wrote “The Obama Confession: Secret Fear, Secret Fury,” explained in an analysis of the president’s statements for WND that Obama’s words suggest the unconscious message that “one day the government’s coming for our guns.”

Hodges previously said Obama’s statement “I am not a dictator” actually meant, “I am the dictator president,” and concluded Obama unconsciously confessed to stealing the 2012 election.



Hodges wrote that Obama denies any reason to worry about the government “but we must keep in mind that denial attached to an idea can tell us to keep an eye on that particular idea and consider deception. Denying the very plan he secretly has in mind. For this reason we always contemplate denial as a revelation of the real truth with the cover-up, ‘Let me tell you what I’m not going to do – ‘wink-wink.”

“Obama follows with a second comment of denial and ridicule, ‘(you hear) we can’t do background checks because the government’s going to come take my guns away.’ Again read his condescending denial as a warning of the possibility one day the government’s coming for our guns,” he wrote.



The proflier [sic] said, “Obama’s repetitive denial tells us what’s on his mind deep down: total gun control. While he could not get away with such a plan now we must ‘know our opponent’ – to whom we must stick closer than a friend. Understand Obama has a deep need stemming from his powerless background to take power away from others.”

Hodges also points out how Obama’s statements suggest he considers himself “the government.”

“Obama dramatically assures us in another full-fledged denial of exactly why citizens have no cause for worry about extreme gun control – because ‘the government’s us.’ Stop here. What comes to mind? Think back quickly to his recent sequester press conference on March 1 when he presented such images as ‘dictator…president,’ ‘apocalypse,’ ‘Jedi ‘mind-meld’ trick,” and having ‘the Secret Service block the door’ to Republicans. One image after another of government control,” Hodges wrote. “Now read the message ‘the government’s us’ as the ‘government is me, Barack Obama.’

“Such declarations are utterly frightening when paired with his previous spontaneous image in the sequester speech of ‘horns on his head.’”

And Obama’s references to officials who are elected suggests “a denial of his belief in the Constitution, a central reason our forefathers put the Second Amendment in the foundation document,” Hodges said.



“Ask yourself if he carried out an illegal presidency and participated in election fraud what would he be capable of when it came to gun control?” Hodges wrote.

Republicans Seek to Rig the DC Circuit Court

GOP bill would delete three of the vacancies on the DC Circuit so President Obama would be unable to restore balance to this extremely influential court.
PFAW

Edit Memo: Senator Grassley's Misleading Spin on Judges

To: Interested Parties

From: Paul Gordon, Senior Legislative Counsel, People For the American Way

Re: Senator Grassley's Misleading Spin on Judges

Date: April 11, 2013

Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Grassley – the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee – made a statement that, if taken on its face, would convince an uninformed listener that Senate Republicans have been cooperating with President Obama in filling judicial vacancies. However, his highly edited view of reality leaves out vital facts that Iowans need to know if they are to judge for themselves whether their representative in the Senate is being straight with them.
Sen. Grassley said:

Yesterday, the Senate confirmed yet another judicial nominee. That was the 10th judicial nominee we confirmed so far this year, including four circuit court nominees. To put that in perspective, as of today’s date in 2005, we had confirmed zero judicial nominees.

Unfortunately, Sen. Grassley left out the details of that tenth nominee, Patty Shwartz. On March 8 of last year, the Judiciary Committee concluded that she was qualified and forwarded her nomination to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to the full Senate. However, under Senate rules, the majority cannot even schedule a confirmation vote without the consent of the minority party (or a 60-senator vote to break the filibuster). For more than a year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was stymied in his efforts to schedule a fair yes-or-no confirmation vote for Shwartz. But for Republican obstruction, she would have been confirmed a year ago; that she was confirmed this year is not something Sen. Grassley should be bragging about.

Sen. Grassley also left out the details of the three other circuit court nominees whose confirmation so early in the President’s second term he cites. All three were unopposed or nearly unopposed but nevertheless blocked for months by Republicans, always without cause. They are:

• Richard Taranto (Federal Circuit) (denied a yes-or-no confirmation vote since March 29 of last year, and finally confirmed last month in a 91-0 vote)
• Robert Bacharach (10th Circuit) (filibustered since June 7 of last year, and finally confirmed in February in a 93-0 vote)
• William Kayatta (1st Circuit) (denied a vote since April of last year, and finally confirmed in February this year in an 88-12 vote)

In fact, of the ten confirmed judges this year, a full seven of them were approved by the Judiciary Committee in the previous Congress and would have been confirmed then but for Republican obstruction.

Including all these victims of partisan obstruction as examples of partisan cooperation takes gall. It also shows contempt for the American people in general and, in particular, the Iowans who Grassley was elected to serve.

His statement continued in the same misleading vein:

Those 10 nominees are on top of a near record setting 112th Congress. During the 112th Congress, we confirmed 111 of President Obama’s judicial nominees. You have to go back 20 years to find a more productive Congress (103rd).

Again, this sounds like a record that Republicans can be proud of, until you learn a key fact that Sen. Grassley is hiding: Many of those confirmed judges from the 112th Congress (2011-2012) would have been confirmed in the 111th Congress (2009-2010) but for obstruction by Sen. Grassley and his party. President Obama started the 112th Congress renominating 42 people who had been nominated in the previous Congress. Of these, 17 had been approved by the Judiciary Committee in the 111th Congress but denied a fair yes-or-no vote. Once more, Sen. Grassley is including victims of partisan obstruction as examples of partisan cooperation.

This deception relies on people not being given the full picture. It assumes that people are kept ignorant of the fact that President Obama’s nominees, regardless of their strong bipartisan support, are on average forced to wait three to four times longer after committee approval for a yes-or-no confirmation vote than was the case for George W. Bush’s nominees at the same point in his presidency: For circuit court nominees, it is 153 days (Obama) vs. 37 days, and for district court nominees, it is 101 days vs. 35 days.

We urge you to write a story about Sen. Grassley’s efforts to obscure the undeniable fact that his party has been engaged in unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees.

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Pratt: Obama Administration Will Use the Police to Target Republicans, Bar Christians from Owning Guns

Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America spoke to conservative talk show host Steve Deace yesterday to denounce the compromise background check proposal backed by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

He predicted that if the Senate approves their proposal then Speaker John Boehner will push it through the House, saying that “Boehner has effectively become Nancy Pelosi in male drag” and “cries” in the face of Democrats and “RINO Republicans.”

Boehner has effectively become Nancy Pelosi in male drag. He’s doing what she would do as Speaker of the House. He is really the head of the Democrat Party plus a rump of RINO Republicans. It’s just stunning. Only twelve of the House caucus Republicans would vote against him for re-election. Now admittedly that means they get nothing for the next two years except heartache and abuse because the only people Boehner ever gets mad at and will fight are conservative Republicans. For everybody else, he cries.

Pratt and Deace later echoed claims made by Erick Erickson and Tony Perkins that the Obama administration may prohibit Christians and Republicans from owning a gun and turn them into the targets of the police.

Deace: Am I wrong to be paranoid that Pat Toomey’s new compromise federal background check may one day flag Christians as being dangerous and shouldn’t own weapons because they are part of a domestic hate group?

Pratt: That is certainly something that would suit Janet Napolitano, the head of the “department of homeland insecurity,” she has been publishing materials exactly to that effect. She doesn’t publish anything about how Islam is an inherently violent, murderous religion invented by some Arab imperialist long after the supposed death of Mohammad. No no no, it’s people that take the Constitution literally, people that are pro-life, people that are pro-Second Amendment, probably underscore those people because they have guns and guns are bad if they are outside the hands of anybody under her authority. I think that’s the mindset of too many folks in the federal government, certainly “department of homeland insecurity” has made that very clear when they’ve advised police departments: these are the chaps to look for and I’m sure they were saying if you had a Ron Paul bumper sticker, no doubt one time in the past if you had a Pat Toomey bumper sticker but I think he’s on the approved list now.

Trouble on the GOP Homefront

The GOP seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Responding to last month’s Republican National Committee “autopsy,” the leaders of thirteen right wing organizations sent a letter this week to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to “strongly recommend” a reaffirmation of the 2012 National GOP Platform—including strident opposition to marriage equality.

On the question of young voters and marriage equality, the letter states that “Republicans would do well to persuade young voters why marriage between a man and a woman is so important rather than abandon thousands of years of wisdom to please them.”  The letter also explicitly warns the GOP leadership that “an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support.”

It seems like those right-wing groups will get their wish: the Washington Post reports that the RNC’s Resolution Committee passed a resolution reaffirming the 2012 platform yesterday which will be voted on by the full RNC tomorrow.

This incident highlights the degree to which the Republican Party is caught in a trap of its own making.  Despite a dawning awareness that moderate voters reject the extreme agenda of the Right, the GOP can’t escape the reactionary anti-gay ideology that it’s exploited for so long.

PFAW

Grassley’s Court Packing Plan Plays Politics with Justice System

Senator Charles Grassley proposed a scheme to reduce the number of judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in order to preserve the Court’s current conservative makeup.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman: Marriage 'Not a Civil Liberty,' Same-Sex Unions Lead to 'Grave Consequences to the Family Unit'

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) followed Dave Agema on Washington Watch yesterday, where he told host Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council that marriage is “not a civil liberty” but an institution that same-sex couples should not be allowed to participate in.

After agreeing with Perkins’ claim that marriage equality “is about fundamentally redefining America,” Stutzman mentioned the benefits of marriage for heterosexual couples as reasons to oppose same-sex marriage.

Later in the show, he warned that religious freedom “is being chipped away at” by gay rights laws, warning that “if we lose that we’re going to see grave consequences to the family unit.”

Perkins: This is about fundamentally redefining America.

Stutzman: That’s exactly right. This is the one issue that as we talk about states’ rights, states’ responsibilities, which according to the Constitution what responsibilities are for the states and which are for the federal government, I think this is the one issue that you’ll even find that if states deal with it themselves that with a very mobile society as people move around the country if you have states that do recognize same-sex marriage and other states that don’t there’s going to be a series of consequences that are going to result because you may have one state in the east coast that recognizes same-sex marriages, if they move to the Midwest, a state like Indiana or Mississippi or other states that don’t, you’re going to have a patchwork quilt of laws.

This is not about marriage, it’s not a civil liberty, it’s an institution, it’s above, it’s something that God has created and is a cornerstone of civil society. It’s vitally important that we protect marriage as something unique, something that is to be protected because of all of the other benefits of the family unit together, all of those things that come with marriage and a family unit, whether it is mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, all of those things are tied up in this institution that God has created in marriage.



Stutzman: Your listeners, people across the country are vocal about this and are engaged in local government, state government and federal government about that religious freedom that we have enjoyed for so many years and that is being chipped away at. I think that if we don’t stand up and speak up and speak out about this important issue, if we lose that we’re going to see grave consequences to the family unit. If we have strong families we will have strong communities, we will have a stronger nation as a whole because we’re going to have that basic unit that God created first.

Perkins: But if we lose that right I don’t know that we’ll regain it so that’s why I think we’ve got to exercise it, speak up and protect it now while we have the chance.

Stutzman: That’s right.

West Virginia Becomes 12th State to Call For Amendment Overturning Citizens United

The West Virginia Legislature has approved a resolution calling on Congress to propose a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC and related cases.  This makes West Virginia the twelfth state to call for such an amendment.

People For the American Way has been working with activists in West Virginia to help rally support for the resolution.  As PFAW Legislative Representative Calvin Sloan noted in a recent action alert, many West Virginians already understood the need to get big money out of politics:

“West Virginia has already seen the drastic need for a constitutional amendment to enact free and fair elections. In 2010, West Virginia’s congressional races attracted more than $15 million from outside groups such as American Crossroads and FreedomWorks, organizations that can, in the wake of Citizens United, raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in our elections.”

As a West Virginian, I am especially proud to see this resolution pass in my home state.  While the states that have called for an amendment are diverse – stretching from Hawaii to Rhode Island – protecting the integrity of our democratic process is a core American value.  As one West Virginia delegate pointed out,

“One of government's roles within this great democracy is making sure everyone has a voice.”

West Virginians are now formally joining the proliferation of voices across the country calling for a democracy of, by, and for the people.

PFAW

Perkins: Government May Put Evangelicals 'On A Watch List' and Stop Them from Purchasing Guns

It looks like Family Research Council president Tony Perkins is embracing a conspiracy theory first floated by Buster Wilson of the American Family Association about how the Obama administration may begin preventing conservative Christians from purchasing guns.

Yesterday on Washington Watch, Perkins said he opposes a new Senate bill that expands background checks because such a system may prevent anyone identified as an “evangelical, bible-believing fundamentalist” from acquiring a firearm.

I’m very concerned about this measure; I am concerned about where it may go once it gets to the Senate floor and what might happen in the House. This idea of background checks is very concerning given the fact that the United States military has been increasingly showing hostility toward evangelicals and Catholics as being somehow threats to national security and people that need to be watched. Well, what does that have to do with gun control? Well, what happens if all the sudden you are identified as an evangelical, bible-believing fundamentalist and the government decides you’ve got to be put on a watch list? Part of the provisions of this background check is kind of a system where if a caution comes up when they put your name in, you don’t get a chance to buy a gun.

Agema and Perkins Agree: Homosexuality Is Destructive Like Alcoholism, Leads to Drug Abuse and Early Death

Tony Perkins hosted embattled Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema yesterday on Washington Watch to defend his anti-gay Facebook posts that cited, among others, Holocaust denier Frank Joseph and Paul Cameron, an extremist and activist who poses as a researcher.

Agema told Perkins that the church should help gays and lesbians “get out of” their “lifestyle,” and tell them “about all the diseases you get, how it gets you into drugs, gets you into all these other things that you don’t want to be in.”

He said gay people should be treated no differently than alcoholics: “if you saw your friend for example dying of alcoholism would you just stand quietly by and watch it happen? Or would you speak up and say hey I want to help you.”

Agema lamented that wealthy and powerful gay activists are suppressing the facts and making the truth-tellers “shut up,” to which Perkins agreed and added that homosexuality is “personally destructive and harmful to the society as well.”

Agema: There’s definitely hate, they call you every name in the book. What I’d like to have the homosexual community know is I don’t hate them, as a matter of fact when Jesus caught the woman in the act of adultery when they brought her to him he said I don’t condemn you but go and sin don’t more. That ought to be the church’s goal here. We ought to be saying to these people: hey, we don’t agree with your lifestyle and we’ll help you get out of it, but we want you to know the facts of what’s going to happen to you if you stay in this lifestyle.

Study after study after study talks about all the diseases you get, how it gets you into drugs, gets you into all these other things that you don’t want to be in. So if you really love someone, if you really were concerned about someone, if you saw your friend for example dying of alcoholism would you just stand quietly by and watch it happen? Or would you speak up and say hey I want to help you. That’s what we should be doing. But the problem is the homosexual community is very organized, they got a lot of money behind them, as a matter of fact the average homosexual makes more than the average person does, has better education and they are very good at shutting anybody down and embarrassing him so they will shut up. So when this happened to me this time just like when it happened to me before I thought, I’m not going to keep quiet on them. It’s starting to backfire on them.

Perkins: I could not agree with you more. I think probably the most profound display of hate would be silence in the face of people making choices that are personally destructive and harmful to the society as well. I want to thank you for standing up because you are absolutely right, a lot of people have self-censored themselves because of the intimidation, they’ve simply backed away and said I don’t want people saying that stuff about me because that’s not who I am, and we’re not haters.

The Republican leader argued that marriage equality and LGBT-inclusive curriculum in school may eventually turn kids gay and make parents and churches victims of hate crime laws. He called on schools to teach kids that gay people “live twenty years less than the average person” and tell gay students about “all the diseases you’re going to contract.”

Perkins also told Agema that he agreed with his Facebook post and is only in trouble for “presenting the truth.”

Agema: I think what the people have to know is if this passes, what will happen is it is just a progression of events that will occur. First of all, what will happen to your school kids when they are in school, it’s already being taught in a lot of places that it is an accepted lifestyle. Then the next thing that will occur is your kids will come home and say I think this is a good thing and I think I want to be one, and if you as a parent stand up and say this is against my moral beliefs and my biblical beliefs, then the next thing you’re going to get into is hate crimes because you’re speaking against something that’s been sanctioned by the state. If you look at Denmark and others then the state also tells the churches you have to marry homosexuals and if you don’t what may happen in the United States is you might lose your tax exempt status.

So this all blew up and so I made a web page here listing several other studies that show the harmful effects of the homosexual lifestyle. Just imagine this, if our kids are in school instead of being told that this is an acceptable and OK lifestyle we are actually briefed and taught the ramifications of this lifestyle, that you’re going to live twenty years less than the average person, you are going to die younger and here’s all the diseases you’re going to contract, there’d be a totally different philosophy here instead of basically telling the kids that this is good. So I think we got to go into this with our eyes wide open and what the 2 or 3 percent of homosexuals what they are doing in the United States today is trying to get the courts to do what they can’t get the individual states to do, and that’s dictate that all states will accept homosexual marriage.

Perkins: I’m joined by Dave Agema; he is the Republican National Committeeman from the state of Michigan. We’re talking about a post that he put on his Facebook page citing facts, statistics regarding the homosexual lifestyle during the oral arguments before the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. What is troubling to me is that your post has been called a form of hate but simply what you are doing is having a conversation presenting the truth. These are documented facts. I looked at what you put up there and some of it is the same information we have on our website, some of it comes from the CDC, comes from other medical sources, it’s all footnoted, there’s nothing hate in here it is just talking about the facts. This is troubling that you can’t even have a conversation about what’s in the best interest of our society without being a bigot or a hater.

Agema: That’s exactly how they get you to shut up.

As Washington Begins Debate on Gun Violence Bills, National Responses Vary

As the U.S. Senate prepares to consider a package of gun violence prevention proposals this week, the current debate on the role of guns in society has led to a variety of legislative responses in D.C. and across the nation.
PFAW

Boykin: Obama and Kerry Show Contempt for the Military

On Tuesday's Washington Watch, Family Research Council leaders Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin argued that the Obama administration is trying to undermine the military. After Perkins said that the administration is “damaging national security” and shows a “total disregard for the future well-being of our national security and the military,” Boykin maintained that Obama’s holds anti-military views are because “he has not served” and “has shown disdain for the military culture.”

He even argued that Secretary of State John Kerry, who received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam, “has a rather abysmal record when he was in the military” and added that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who also served in Vietnam, “has not been particularly strong on national defense.”

Both Boykin and Perkins have repeatedly claimed that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the lifting of the ban on women in combat positions were grave threats to the military. Boykin earlier insisted that Obama is attempting to weaken military values in order to change the larger culture and establish a paramilitary force that is similar to the Brownshirts

Perkins: This administration uses the military and I think disregards the military principles that in the long run could be very serious in terms of damaging national security, there’s a total disregard for the future well-being of our national security and the military.

Boykin: Well you’re absolutely right. You see a lot of things happening to our military today that are really changing the culture of the military and consequently changing the readiness of the military at a time when our enemies are growing stronger. I think if you look at the fact that we now have a President who not only has not served but you could even make the case has shown disdain for the military culture. And you have a Secretary of State that has a rather abysmal record when he was in the military and a Secretary of Defense who has not been particularly strong on national defense. What you see is leadership now at the highest levels that really want to change the military culture, change the ethos of the military into something that more supports their agenda and I think we all have a pretty good idea of what their agenda is.

Delaware General Assembly Members Send Letter to Washington Urging Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Earlier this month, members of the Delaware General Assembly began gathering signatures for a letter to be sent to Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Representative Carney urging them and their colleagues to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases.
PFAW

Todd Starnes Warns the Military Will Begin Monitoring Personnel who Support Religious Right Groups

Fox News “culture war” correspondent Todd Starnes chatted with Buster Wilson of the American Family Association yesterday about an email that a lieutenant colonel in Kentucky reportedly sent to a handful of subordinates encouraging them to stand up to anti-gay organizations. This obviously irked the AFA since they are on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groups.

Starnes asserted that if a military family subscribes to an AFA publication, the Pentagon “would be obligated at that point to monitor that family for suspicious activity.”

Wilson asked Starnes if individuals in the White House or the Pentagon who are “anti-pro-family groups, anti-Christian groups” were behind the emails.

“It appears that this administration is trying to secularize the United States military,” Starnes warned. Wilson added that the Obama administration is “dissing Christianity, traditional conservatism and what’s really American.”

Later, Starnes agreed with Wilson’s claim that the “liberally-controlled government” will use the power of the state to suppress hate groups.

Wilson: At what point does the liberally-controlled government start to say, you know what this hate group needs to be quieted, they need to be quiet, we need to shut them up, they are doing what they do because of what they say and what they say is dangerous. It’s the old shouting fire in the theatre thing, they need to be quiet.

Starnes: Once you start saying something long enough people start believing it and I suspect we’re on that trajectory. At this stage in the game I think Jerry Boykin from FRC says that it is time for Americans to stand up and it is time to start fighting back by contacting your lawmakers, contacting your representatives in Washington, not just on the phone but in person saying ‘this has to stop.’

Earlier in the program, Wilson used Melissa Harris-Perry’s commentary on the collective responsibility of raising children to warn that America is in decline. He said that he now understands why “they think that they have the right to teach them about homosexual sex and it’s okay to have feelings for someone of the same-sex in kindergarten.”

Wilson: I never thought I’d see the day when we would be talking about openly from once respected news brands like NBC saying that you don’t own your own children. I just got to tell you sometimes it breaks my heart and sometimes my wife and I will just be talking about this and we’ll just tear up, we’re like, what is going on in this country? You honestly are going to try to sell me the idea that my kids don’t belong to me, they belong to you and everybody else? No wonder they think that they have the right to teach them about homosexual sex and it’s okay to have feelings for someone of the same-sex in kindergarten, no wonder they think that because it’s their kids and that’s what they believe.

PFAW Delivers Over 100K Petitions to Corbett Urging Him to Reject Electoral Vote-Rigging Scheme

HARRISBURG -- Today, People For the American Way and allies in Pennsylvania delivered over 125,000 petitions calling on Gov. Tom Corbett to reject a Republican scheme to rig the way Pennsylvania apportions its electoral votes. 108,000 of the petitions were from People For the American Way members and supporters. The plan, introduced by Sen. Dominic Pileggi, would split Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, thus diminishing its influence in presidential elections.

People For the American Way volunteers have knocked on over 3,000 doors in key Senate districts in the past three weeks, educating voters about the Republican plan. In addition, Pennsylvania members of PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action denounced the scheme at an event in Philadelphia yesterday.

“People in Pennsylvania and across the country are speaking out against this plan,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way. “Voters know when politicians are trying to pull a fast one on them, and Sen. Pileggi and his allies are not going to get away with it. Gov. Corbett should listen to his fellow Pennsylvanians and reject this scheme to diminish the influence of Pennsylvania voters.”

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American way. www.pfaw.org.
 

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